The enlargement of Asem today with Norway, Bangladesh and Swizerland is an important event, said Norwegian Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg in his statement as new member.
He thanked Laos and Prime Minister Thongsing Thammavong for hosting the summit and for supporting Norwegian membership.
“Asem is shaping the future relations between Asia and Europe, and it has been a priority for Norway to become a full member,” Stoltenberg said
He mentioned Asia’s growing importance in the world community and as examples of Asia growing importance for Norway he pointed that the Norwegian merchant navy ships today is build in Asia as well as Norway’s oil-rigs.
Asia’s tremendous economic growth which has lifted millions out of poverty is impressing and has also benefited the rest of the world, said Stoltenberg, and he assured that Norway is committed to cooperation with the Asian countries.
Norway has currently invested 80 billion USD in equities and fixed income holdings in Asian countries, a proof of Norway’s strong confidence in Asian economies, Stoltenberg said.
He also welcomed Asia’s growing interest in Norway’s politics on issues as climate change and energy. He said that climate change and the ice melting at the poles, not only represent great concerns but also great opportunities and increased trade. The opening of the Arctic ocean will reduce sailing time between Asia and Europe with 40 percent and benefit both Asia and Europe.
Norway is the world third largest energy exporter, Stoltenberg told, and a very reliable one, and he promised that Norway will be a reliable energy supplier in the future as well.
Finally Stoltenberg pointed that increasing energy consumption should not undermine sustainable development and climate targets and that Norway looks forward to work with Asian countries on renewable energy and climate friendly technology ending his speech with an invitation to “go to work”.